Are you open to correction from the Lord? Do you acknowledge your need for His adjustment of your behavior [or misbehavior]? Are you cooperating with that process?
Most of the time, we Christians behave ourselves fairly well. Our posture is to live as best we can in a biblical, godly way. But occasionally, our carnal, fleshly side runs rampant, and our orneriness pops out into full view. Right then, correction and adjustment are the order of the day. At such times, we need to be open to correction.
An Outbreak of Impatience
Recently, a side of myself that I don’t like very much splashed out all over my wife. It came as Cindi and I were about to receive houseguests, and our house really wasn’t ready yet. We had agreed to take a few days to get everything in order, but due to the hectic nature of our lives, we were delayed in that process—way behind schedule.
In the midst of these pressures on both of us, was I a cooperative husband? Was I loving and patient toward my wife? Far from it. At one point in my irritable, impatient state, Cindi asked me: “Can we take a minute to talk about this?” My reply gave vent to my full frustration: “No, I don’t want to TALK about it. I want to get the work done!”
Later that day, I apologized fully. I asked Cindi for forgiveness, and things seemed to be okay between us. But apparently, the Lord was not very happy with me.
A Trip to the Woodshed
The following day, as I was having my regular early morning routine of fellowship with the Lord while driving in the car, I realized something was amiss. It seemed apparent He really was not pleased with the way I had treated my wife the day before. These are the words I heard from Him: “You are acting like an old, impatient fool.”
I knew better than to make excuses. Following the advice of Matthew 5:25, I decided to “agree quickly with my Adversary.” I told the Lord I was sorry—and then spent a lengthy time repenting before Him for my inexcusable behavior toward my wife.
When I returned from that early morning ride and told Cindi what had happened, I was surprised by her response. “You have no idea how much it means to me that the Lord would take my part in that way.” Cindi loves me dearly—but she was blessed most of all that when the Lord reprimanded me on her behalf, I was open to His correction.
My life Scripture is in Hebrews 12, beginning with these thoughts: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” (vv. 1, 2 NASB1995).
Inspiring thoughts, aren’t they? However, the next sections of Hebrews 12 are more sobering, especially the references to “the chastening” and disciplinary actions of the Lord in our lives.
Quoting Proverbs 3:11–12, the writer of Hebrews says, “My son [and daughter], do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as a son [or daughter]” (vv. 5–6 NIV). Not the easiest truth to hear; but it’s part of the package.
If chastening is an expression of His love, we need to stay open to His correction!
The Method for Maturity
Have you and I embraced the truth of God’s discipline in our lives? The reality that in addition to pouring out His blessing and favor upon us, He also addresses our misbehavior and childish disobedience? That this is His way to bring us to maturity?
In a message called “The Purpose of God’s Discipline” from a helpful teaching series on holiness, Derek Prince talks about our need to embrace this truth.
Let me just come back to this question of why God disciplines us. The writer says in [Hebrews 12] verse five: “You have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him….”
There are two different errors here. Some people despise the chastening of the Lord. They say, “I don’t believe God would treat me like that. God doesn’t treat His children like that. That’s not from God. I don’t believe it, and I don’t accept it.” They despise the chastening of the Lord.
There are others who are discouraged. “Well, if that’s how God treats me, I just don’t have any hope. Why do I have to go through something like that? You mean God is behind it? I can’t take that. It’s too much. I’ll just give up. I’ll lie down and let the devil walk right over me.”
Instead, we need to bear in mind that being chastened, or corrected, or disciplined—the best word is disciplined—is evidence that we are true sons and daughters of God. If we are not disciplined, woe to us! God is not treating us as His children.
This letter is not meant to be disheartening or discouraging. Is it speaking to you in a helpful way? If not, please feel free to ignore it. But if your heart is saying YES to these truths, let’s open ourselves up to the Lord with the following prayer together:
Father in Heaven, I want to thank You for the truths I am hearing right now. Even though they are challenging, I make the decision to welcome them and receive them as a part of my life with You, I know they are a necessity for me—one more way You show Your love for me.
Please forgive me when I have persisted in my stubborn resistance to Your correction and adjustment. I want to cooperate with You today.
With this prayer, I open my heart to Your inspection. I come to You now with the same request David placed before You: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24).
Lord, I want to agree with You in any area You designate as needing correction. I open myself to You now, and I thank You in advance for what You will reveal to me in response to this prayer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The Advanced Course
You and I have just prayed a courageous prayer together. This is not Christianity 101 we are talking about here. It is the advanced course—one which many Christians refuse to take. In the days ahead, you and I can expect the Lord to be faithful to answer us, bringing some needed and unexpected changes in us as we stay open to correction.
All of us here at DPM have been through some aspect of this disciplinary process, and we know it can be challenging. We want to help in any way we can. Please feel free to draw deeply on the sound Biblical wisdom expressed through Derek’s timeless teaching. (We encourage you to download the free message, “The Purpose of God’s Discipline,” which we quoted. We know it will be a good starting point for you.)
As always, we want to tell you what an honor it is to walk with you and to support you in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Thank you for entrusting us with the privilege of standing with you, as you have certainly done with us through your prayers and your financial contributions. We simply can’t thank you enough!
Get With the Program
While I have been reflecting on this unusual topic for a “letter of encouragement,” another passage came to mind which relates somewhat indirectly to the issue at hand.
In the latter part of James 3, there is a discussion of soulish wisdom versus godly wisdom. One of the characteristics of the right approach—“the wisdom from above”—is that it is “willing to yield.” Other translations of that phrase render it as “reasonable,” “easy to be entreated,” “accommodating,” “easy to be persuaded.” Bottom line? The wise response to God’s correction in our lives is to get with the program—to cooperate.
As a final reminder, let’s be careful to obey the admonition of Hebrews 12 and Proverbs 3 that we not “make light of the discipline of the Lord.” It is serious business, leading to our growth and maturity in Him. We need to pay close attention when the Lord points out an area of our lives that needs to change.
What is our obligation at such times? To stay open to His correction!
All the best,
“The Purpose of God's Discipline”
Do you acknowledge your need for God's adjustment of your behavior? We need to be—open to correction.
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